Baltimore Ravens: Which Wide Receivers Make Roster?


The Baltimore Ravens will hold the first of their three weeks of organized team activities (OTAs), beginning today at the Under Armour Performance Center. Teams are permitted to participate in coach organized drills, but contact is prohibited during OTAs per the collective bargaining agreement. The importance of these OTAs is to gauge how the new rookie class acclimates with the veterans on the roster. This week is voluntary, but the June 16-18 minicamp is mandatory for all players.

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My colleague Brandon Austin wrote a piece breaking down the some of the intriguing position battles to watch for. The Ravens will have some decisions to make regarding the safety position, as well as the backup running back situation and the fourth cornerback spot.

The same can be said for the tight end group, but a lot of the decision-making will come down to whether Dennis Pitta will play or not. If Pitta returns, the Ravens will have an interesting decision to make with rookie Nick Boyle. If not, Marc Trestman will likely start the season with rookie Maxx Williams, Crockett Gilmore and Boyle on the roster. While the tight end group will figure itself out based on Pitta, the wide receiver battle could be the most entertaining to watch.

The only locks to make the team are Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman. The rest of the receivers on the roster are not guaranteed anything. With a new offensive coordinator in the mix, he doesn’t have loyalty to any of the receivers on the roster. The Ravens have eight or nine receivers that will come into camp, but Trestman is going to go into the 2015 season with the five or six best players at the position, and every one of them has a shot at making the team.

Marlon Brown will likely start the season opposite Smith as Perriman learns the nuances of the offense. Head Coach John Harbaugh has openly said that 2015 “should be a big year for Marlon” and the third year pass catcher is being counted on to make that leap that is expected entering the third season. Brown lacks the speed that makes Perriman special, but he has the size that teams are now coveting in receivers.

Speaking of size, rookie Darren Waller is certainly a project for Trestman. It’s been widely speculated that he values big-bodied wide receivers and Waller is just that at six-foot-six. Waller is a bit raw as a route runner coming from Georgia Tech and their triple-option offense, but the Ravens are confident they can utilize his strengths in the NFL. There is another Georgia Tech wide receiver in the league that adjusted rather capably and we can only hope that Waller is half the wide receiver that Calvin Johnson has become.

Michael Campanaro has an inside edge to make the squad because of his value as a kick returner. With Jacoby Jones now in San Diego, Campanaro is the likely choice to return kicks. He has a lot to show the team as a receiver, however, catching just seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in his rookie season. 

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Where does that leave Kamar Aiken? Jeremy Butler? Aldrick Robinson? Aiken is the most likely of the three to make the team because of his time with the team last season. Aiken has been a journeyman in his time in the NFL, and the 2014 season was the first in which he played in a full season after playing in just three games in the three years prior. Aiken recorded 24 catches for 267 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a touchdown reception in the Ravens’ playoff loss to the New England Patriots.

Robinson was a 2011 sixth-round draft pick by the Washington Redskins from Southern Methodist whom the Ravens signed to their practice squad late last season. Butler is a 6-3, 205-pound receiver, who spent last season on injured reserve due to a sprained shoulder after being undrafted in 2014 out of Tennessee-Martin.

The team also has some quality undrafted free agents options that could surprise us all in Cam Worthy and DeAndre Carter. Worthy was a terrific wideout at East Carolina who torched Virginia Tech with six catches for 224 yards in an upset in the early part of the 2014 season. Carter is a shifty receiver from Sacramento State who promised his deceased brother he would make it to the NFL, and is hungry to make it.

A lot of the process is going to take place when media and fans aren’t in attendance. Today is the first of ten offseason workouts and we cannot put too much into how the guys look in shorts in May and June.

The front office is going to have to make some difficult selections in August, and another team in the league is going to benefit from the Ravens surplus at receiver.

For a team that has often had problems finding talent at wide receiver, it’s a good situation to be in.

Next: Who Needs More Help: Ravens Offense or Defense?